Before this year I’d never had a reason to call 911. Since April, I’ve done it three times. Two were bike related. My buddy Anthony touched wheels on a rainy ride back in May and cracked his collarbone. Amazingly he was back on the bike in a couple of weeks, so not much harm done there.
Last weekend I was on a group ride, in a paceline with two unfamiliar riders who, along with me, had been dropped by the guys who really know what they’re doing. A couple of miles from the end we were coasting down a gentle hill when we came upon a car stopped in the travel lane with its right-turn signal on. This is a setup for the classic “right hook” accident: bikers overtake on the right, driver doesn’t see, driver cuts across bikes’ path and winds up with one or more bikers half-prodruding from passenger window. If the car is a large truck, this type of accident is commonly fatal.
I was 2nd wheel. The guy in front saw the car, braked and yelled “slowing!” I saw the car, braked and faded a little right so I didn’t hit the lead rider. While I was doing that, I heard the sickening scraping sounds of Guy #3 grabbing too much brake and going over the bars. Of course I didn’t see that, but that’s what he said he did, and somehow one of his water bottles ended up jamming under my rear wheel, so I have no trouble believing that his bike cartwheeled.
Cam (as Guy #3 turned out to be called) was probably not seriously injured – a spot of road rash on his hip and a sore back for sure – but we got the EMTs on scene and he was transported to a local hospital in full neck-brace-and-back-board ensemble. By the way, the whole E911 cell-phone-locator system is a ways from being fully implemented. If you have to dial 911 from your mobile, you’d better have a pretty good idea of where you are.
I’m writing about it, so it’s obvious that this sort of thing gets in my head. As I like to say, I have a lot of reasons to live. This is just a sport, and I’d rather not need some guy I don’t really know trying to figure out how to call my next of kin because I just aced my hood-ornament tryout. And no matter how good I am, this can happen to me. In fact, it probably will happen to me if I keep at it. But I can’t ride around expecting that it will happen. That’s a sure way to bring it on. So instead, I’ll just leave all the bad juju here. Maybe you shouldn’t read this entry more than once.

PMC 2006 – Pictures up

PMC went off this weekend, and I had a great time. Pictures are over in the gallery. I promised Elden over at Fat Cyclist that I would do the writeup for him first, so I’ll post here when it’s available there.
Speaking of Elden, he’s racing his 10th Leadville 100 on Saturday and is pulling out all the stops for his first sub-9-hour finish (which will net him the biiiig belt buckle). Rip it, Elden!